The emperor has too many clothes, and Burda 08/2011

Do all sewers have enough clothes, or is it just me? I’m not a speedy seamstress by any stretch of the imagination, but my cupboard is pretty much full. Handmade clothes just don’t wear out! I suppose I’m also less likely to get rid of them, for two reasons. Firstly, I like everything about them, unlike a bought item where I might like the style but not so much the fabric, or vice versa. And secondly, the time investment makes them more valuable than something ready-made. The internet tells me this is the sunk cost fallacy – but the insight doesn’t really help, I still want to hang on to it all.

One solution is to sew for others. There is clearly an increasing amount of this on this blog. I really like doing it. It’s hard to be sure what the recipients really think, but I think it’s appreciated, on the whole. When I was small my grandmother used to knit a lot of jumpers. Often the neck hole was too small, and my mother didn’t want to disappoint her by telling her. Most of the people I sew for are considerably less polite, and I trust that they’ll give me honest feedback!

Anyway, this is a blouse I made for my sister. It’s this one from Burda 08/2011. I used to have a hemp blouse in a similar style, which I wore to pieces, and so I was thrilled to come across this Burda pattern.

Burda blouse 08/2011

The fabric is a fairly heavy crepe, possibly rayon I think. It’s a gorgeous fabric and a stunning colour that always makes me think of my sister, for some reason. It definitely suits her. Another benefit of sewing for others: making things in colours you love but don’t love to wear.

Burda 08/2011

The only modification was to omit the side slits, and shape the hem up at the sides. I do this a lot and don’t know why so many patterns are cut straight across – I think a shaped hem looks a lot nicer.

burda shirt 4 edited

Anyway the main lesson from this pattern was to check the finished measurements – this could easily have gone down one size, maybe two. It’s not just too loose, but too big all over – the back opening looks too long, the sleeves are bracelet length rather than three-quarter, the hem’s probably too long… But it’s definitely wearable, and I suppose it’s better than being too small.

It’s one to make again… maybe even for myself. I would like another blue hemp top like this.

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Kangaroos

17351.JPGTwo babies, two kangaroos.

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These were baby shower gifts; I thought even Kiwi babies could do with a toy kangaroo.

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This was the pattern. If you make it, be careful because the two pages aren’t to scale (the printing directions are on the pattern, but did I pay attention, oh no, why would I do a silly thing like that when they had to be finished the same day?).

Also be careful stuffing it, you really have to get the stuffing right down into the arms and tail.

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I thought they were adorable. I hope the babies like them. I’d like to try making a bigger one sometime. Or a huge one! Maybe I could stuff it with fabric scraps and see how long it takes to fill.

Ginger jeans, kind of, sort of

This is one of those Very Exciting Makes. You know the ones you’re extra proud of? Often they took extra time or used special fabric or were for a particular occasion. These are the first jeans I’ve made, and sneakily I decided to make them for my sister so I wasn’t forced to deal with them if they didn’t fit. Spoiler alert, they did!

I did a class with Maryanne at Made on Marion, called something like ‘copying a ready-to-wear garment’. I could probably have found enough online to work out how to do it, but WOULD I have? Probably not. It was great to block out a whole day to get it done.

jeans class 2

jeans class

There were four of us, each copying a completely different garment. I used some worn-out jeans of my sister’s, and it was interesting to see how three-dimensional the pieces had become, as they’d moulded to the shape of her body. I did my best, but probably most importantly, I sewed it up in a mystery denim with a fair bit of stretch.

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I used the Ginger jeans pattern for the construction, and it was fascinating to see how much work is in a pair of jeans. It’s pretty worrying that they can be sold at such a low price. I threaded the Lotus with topstitching thread, but she didn’t like all the layers for the bar-tacks, so I ended up doing those on the Bernina. There were two things I wasn’t really happy with: firstly, it’s hard to work out pocket placement without the intended owner around to model them. Secondly, I don’t think I did the rivets right. They were supposed to just click into place (no hammering needed), but maybe mine were too long, or my denim was too thin? There was a lot of empty space and they stick out a bit. Admittedly I’m probably the only one who’ll notice.

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It was really fun to see them start to look like proper jeans! And you already know this, but they fit pretty well. I’m keen to try them again in a denim with a bit less stretch, to see how that works.

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Merino cowl dress (for the win)

Don’t you love it when you do an experiment and it isn’t a Pinterest Fail? I impulse-bought some green merino from Levana, with an interesting chevron pattern, to make a cowl neck dress. Not having a cowl pattern, and having already done a significant amount of internet shopping that week, I scoured the web for a free pattern, and found this one.

cowl dress

Happily for size 36 people, but sadly for me, it’s only in one size. I thought, ‘oh well, I’ll just add the extra inches at the centre seam’. In my experience, this sort of blind optimism often leads to disaster, but not this time. It meant that the cowl was deeper than planned, and the back neck was a lot wider than it should be. I added a box pleat at the centre back neckline, and it draped beautifully. Actually this pattern was released a couple of weeks later, also with a draped back, and I felt very on-trend.

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I find that having an unexpected success like this really motivates me to sew more. Or maybe it’s just the time of year, now the days are getting shorter and there’s more inside time. Either way, there’s more to come…